Fifth grade has turned out to be one of my favorites so far in Noah’s little life journey. I remember fifth grade as awkward and full of mean girls and bangs. But, for Noah, he is really coming into his own and blossoming into a really cool human. And, every now and then, I catch a glimpse of a little young adult.
I really felt it on Christmas Eve this year when he asked me the question I knew was coming but was trying to avoid… Is Santa Claus real?
To set the record straight, I have never been a big fan of Santa. And, when I became a mom, I had full intentions of not buying into the whole fat man in a suit bringing presents idea. But that all changed when Noah’s little blue eyes sparkled in the lights of the Christmas tree. It was then that I realized that the magic of Santa was right in front of me- with no fat bearded man in sight.
And that is what I have tried to focus on when it came to Christmas- the magic. That feeling you get when you see the lights on the houses start to go up and when the Christmas songs begin to play on the radio. Magic is in the anticipation of seeing the look on your best friend’s face when they open the most perfect present in the world that you just knew they would love. And I watch the magic appear all around as we get the cherished family Christmas decorations out of the boxes and tell stories about the special ornaments as we place them on the tree.
All this being said, I picked Luke up from after school about 2 weeks before Christmas and, when I told him he would have to wait until after dinner to play on his iPad, he informed me that he not only hated me but he also “didn’t care at all about my Christmas magic because magic isn’t even real!” It is important to note that this is, probably, the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me.
So, even after this incident with Luke – when Noah asked me for the “truth” about Santa – magic, the good kind of sparkling magic, was the only thing that came to mind.
How I revealed the truth about Santa:
“Noah, the truth is, Santa has never been a big fat bearded guy that sneaks down your chimney and leaves you presents. The presents part has always been me and your dad. However, that doesn’t mean that Santa isn’t real. Santa is part of the Christmas magic that makes this time of year so special.
Christmas magic is different as you grow up and, as a little kid, Christmas magic shows up as the idea of a kind and gentle person who loves you and all the kids of the world so much that he wants to share the joy of Christmas with children by bringing them presents. As these kids grow up, like you, Christmas becomes less about the presents and the magic of Santa turns into something else.
Right now, now that you are 10 years old, Christmas magic lives in more than just presents. Remember that feeling you had when you looked at all of the lights in the trees in Sunset Hills? Or that feeling in your belly when we sing Christmas songs together? Or how much you look forward to curling up in our PJs every year to stay up late and watch Home Alone? That feeling that fills your whole body is where the magic of Christmas lives.
Santa now has a different meaning. Now you get to watch the sparkle in Luke’s eyes when he walks into the living room to see the presents that Santa brought. Now you get to see the joy in our faces a little differently when you rummage through your stocking. And now, you will see that Santa is always real as long as you can feel the magic.
When you get older and become a dad, the magic of Santa shifts as you will become the holder of the magic. You get to help create the magic sparkle that you see in your kid’s eyes. And then, your experience of the magic will be even bigger than you could ever imagine. Because you helped to light the spark that you now see twinkling all around you.
Noah- do you have any questions that you want to ask us?”
And, Noah, after me pouring my heart and soul into this conversation that I had been psyching myself up for, in all of his innocent wisdom said… “Umm, do I have to sleep in a shirt tonight because it’s Christmas?”
And the world moves on because it is much bigger than us.